Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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Bedfordshire’s Police & Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway, is appealing to the public to use the 101 number correctly when calling the police.  The PCC is backing the Bedfordshire Police campaign to raise awareness of the non-emergency number and encouraging people to make proper use of the service.

Introduced in 2011, the 101 number was designed to make the police more accessible to communities while at the same time reducing pressure on the 999 system, but some people are still not aware of the number, while others are not using it correctly.

Commissioner Holloway said: “A lot of people still don’t understand the 101 number.  It was first introduced nationally so that 999 should be for absolute life-threatening emergencies and crimes in progress, and 101 used for everything else.

“It’s absolutely critical for Bedfordshire Police in the Force Control Room because it allows call handlers to differentiate between life threatening emergencies and the level of seriousness of the calls coming in to the police.

“I'm entirely aware that the 101 number can be abused since there is a tendency for the police to be considered the first port of call every time someone is discontented. I've even been sitting in the Force Control Room when a call handler received a complaint about the quality of a take-away!”

In 2016 Bedfordshire Police took around 80,000 999 calls and 300,000 101 calls, in addition to calls from other emergency services colleagues and other agencies.

The current awareness campaign outlines which number to dial and reinforces the appropriate use of each when calling the police, asking that 999 should only be used in a genuine emergency, for example if a serious crime is in progress or if there is a threat to life. The Force states that every day people call 999 when 101 would have been a better choice, which potentially impacts on the time it takes for those who are suffering genuine emergencies to get through to the police control room.

Bedfordshire Police is encouraging people to use 101 if they:
• Want to report a crime that is not in progress
• Have information about a crime such as a drug dealing
• Wish to speak to a local police officer
Commissioner Holloway continued: "There are a lot of myths around 101 and its effectiveness but I've used it to report crime concerns myself over and over again since I came into this office and been answered in only minutes and I can assure the public that the call handlers don't know it's me calling until I get through.”

Calls to 101 cost 15p for the duration of the call.